JUNE 01, 2006

Pharmacy Times, in conjunction with Wal-Mart, is pleased to announce the establishment of a national award, to be known as "the RESPy AWARD," to honor outstanding pharmacy students who display exemplary behavior and great potential as community pharmacist candidates. As Ron Chomiuk, vice president of Wal-Mart Pharmacy Operations, stated, "Pharmacy students are the future of our profession, and those selected for this award demonstrate that they are embracing these values through service to their community and will continue to act on these values as pharmacists."

Eight RESPy AWARD winners will be chosen each year, featured in Pharmacy Times magazine, and honored with their respective college of pharmacy. Students selected to receive the award also will receive a cash award and will be offered a summer internship with Wal-Mart.

How to Submit Nominations

Nominations for future RESPy AWARDs can be submitted by deans of pharmacy schools nationwide and should be sent to Emilie McCardell, editorial director of Pharmacy Times, at emccardell@ All nominations will be reviewed by a select panel, including representatives from Pharmacy Times, Wal-Mart, and academia. Some criteria on which the pharmacy student will be selected are as follows:

  • Demonstration of voluntary public service activities
  • Demonstration of a high level of professional/public health-related activities outside the classroom
  • Demonstration of a high level of effort to advance the profession of pharmacy in the public arena

Pharmacy Times would like to congratulate our RESPy AWARD winner, Mandy Billingsley. We eagerly await the nomination and selection of future award winners!

The Wal-Mart/Pharmacy Times RESPy AWARD (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care.


Mandy Billingsley embodies the characteristics that every pharmacy student needs to prepare for a life of service to patients. She excels in the classroom, is involved in a multitude of professional activities, and is a model of professionalism and respect for others. Mandy is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy.

Reared in a family of educators, Mandy was destined for academic achievement. Her grandfather and her parents developed their careers as teachers. "Education was always a priority in my family," she recalled.

This early grounding obviously has fueled her drive to achieve an enviable academic record. She also has found ways to balance the rigors of academe with community service projects. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, she won a scholarship to attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.

"I always knew I wanted to be a part of the health care team, but I did not know my career path until I began working at a Veterans Administration hospital," she explained. There she learned the importance of patient counseling, which was enhanced by her summer work at a Wal-Mart in her hometown. She was able to form relationships with patients there, and her experience in community pharmacy strengthened her career goals.

In an effort to experience all facets of the profession, Mandy has worked in community, hospital, and nuclear pharmacy. "I have thoroughly enjoyed developing relationships with patients through health screenings. I know that all paths of pharmacy offer rewarding careers," she said.

Of meaningful role models in her life, she stated,"My mentors include all of the pharmacists I have worked with in the past. They have given me skills and life lessons that I hope to apply in my practice." She also considers her professors role models. "I hope one day to reach their level of knowledge and confidence," she added.

Student involvement and leadership have been important in Mandy's development as a professional. She is an active member of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), National Community Pharmacists Association, Student Society of the American Society of Health- System Pharmacists, Student Society of Nuclear Pharmacy, Phi Delta Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma, and Rho Chi. "I think that being an active member of any pharmacy organization is a great way to promote pharmacy. Through membership in these organizations, I have participated in patient care projects, fundraising, and leadership experiences," she said.

She explained that, collectively, these organizations have shown her the importance of patient care, through projects such as Heartburn Awareness, Operation Immunization, and health fair screenings. She said, "I have developed my clinical skills and patient communication skills and have learned the need for advocating for my profession."

Mandy sits on the local policy and legislation committee for the APhA-ASP. She attended the APhA-ASP Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where she served nationally as the Region 6 representative of the New Business Review Committee. As the community service chair of Phi Delta Chi, she organized the adoption of a highway mile in the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Campaign, and she helped to develop a window display for body mass index screenings at a local pharmacy. She also recently was appointed as a student representative on the organization and administration committee of the 2006 UAMS Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education Self-Study Plan.

"I would advise students to be active members of pharmacy organizations. It allows us to have a voice in pharmacy, and participating in organizations can enhance a student's desire for pharmacy," she said. "My involvement in student organizations has shown me the significance of active student pharmacists in the policy-making process and patient care projects," she added.

About the College

Established in 1951, the UAMS College of Pharmacy, under the leadership of Dean Stephanie Gardner, provides outstanding pharmacy education, pharmaceutical research, and pharmacy practice. Students are taught by faculty members engaged in innovative, world-class, nationally recognized research. The College's new Center for Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy promotes evidence-based optimal practices and public policy in the cost-efficient delivery of pharmaceutical care. Our Poison Control Center is available 24/7 to citizens in need, and our Drug Information Center offers the most current data on best practices to health care providers. The Arkansas Pharmacists Association and the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy partner with the College to ensure professional excellence. The College was cited in April 2005 among the top 50 schools in a US News and World Report list of the top programs of pharmacy education in the country. For further information about the College of Pharmacy and its programs, visit